Raid on Gnolltown
(July 7, 2019)
Night was falling and the party was considering heading back to Gilm to rest when Suneel, profusely thankful for saving him from Hanuba and the gnolls, delicately asked Zabrina for the return of his amulet and Shuni for the return of his magic rod. They grudgingly gave back the items they had taken from him the last time they were together, reasoning that the man had nothing left now that his loyal manservant Gomi was dead.
The ruined nobleman was overjoyed to find the golem still responding to his commands, now that the amulet was in his possession and Hanuba dead. That was why it had stopped attacking when the warlock was killed – it would respond to the holder of the amulet, and Hanuba’s control was only a temporary result of him reconstructing it. In return, Suneel gave the adventurers a tip that could save them a lot of time on their trip farther up the Xanthium River.
While Hanuba had been running the house for the past two days, he often boasted about his ambitions and destiny and let Suneel know that he was after all three of the relics on the party’s treasure map because together they would make him powerful beyond imagining. Now that he had the map to the Pyramid of Tutumbek, he was going to use a portal in the nearby Temple of the Naga to instantly reach the city of Waibo, four hundred miles west of here, and then on to claim the Serpent Scepter, the first of the three relics. Until the adventurers killed him, that is.
The gnolls which Hanuba had summoned to the Sarjeetha estate had come from the vicinity of the Temple of the Naga, according to Suneel, and the party decided to backtrack the humanoids to their source – after a good night’s rest and clean-up. As the night closed in, the exhausted and blood-encrusted heroes returned to their rooms awaiting them at Tybil’s Tavern.
The next day, the party got an early start after a fine breakfast feast payed for by Tharius. Rayden easily spotted the trail and confidently followed it for the better part of the day, leading his fellow adventurers along with Shuni over the coarse scrub terrain toward the rockier land to the east of Gilm. Eventually, they came upon a narrow choke-point between two 10-foot tall escarpments and blocked by a crude black gate and watchtower.
A gnoll was spotted scrabbling along a ridge and Saria sneaked ahead to investigate, seeing movement of several indistinct humanoid shapes through gaps in the rough gate before reporting back. Rayden cast a Pass Without Trace spell to cover the party’s advance and Shuni was the first to climb the escarpment when the gnoll was spotted in a cave mouth high up the opposite cliff aiming an arrow at the barbarian and everyone else went into action, firing back or clambering up the small cliffs flanking the gate.
The gnoll ducked back inside his cave and Ranger plunged ahead along the side of the shallow ravine dotted with huts opposite Shuni’s side, investigating a series of alcoves. He came face to face with the gnoll rushing down from the higher cave and it quickly blew a horn which called forth three undead Witherlings and a Troll from the huts in the ravine.
Shuni took to the ravine floor and worked herself up into a rage to fight the troll and the undead with support from Zabrina, Tharius and Saria. Scheff helped Rayden over the gate before rushing into the cave to help Ranger against the spell-casting gnoll shaman. In the heat of the late afternoon, the adventurers fought well to overcome the enemy, although Ranger nearly met his end.
These few monsters were the only inhabitants, with the full contingent of gnolls presumably the ones the party defeated at Suneel’s estate. Cave paintings showed a crude mural Zabrina was able to identify as paying homage to the gnoll demon god Yeenoghu as well as a large serpent with a human head. After a short rest the party decided to head on up the ravine, expecting to find the Temple of the Naga, and find it they did after another hour or so.
As the sun was setting on the shallow ravine, the party came upon the aged and cracked portico of a temple carved into a short cliff-face. Although fairly modest in size, the 10’ tall open archway flanked by columns stylized like coiling serpents was impressive. About a hundred feet from it, a wide circular well surrounded by a low wall was discernible.
It was decided that this would be a good place to camp.